Peter Maley SM

In an article submitted to the Law Society Northern Territory journal Balance, CLANT President Russell Goldflam has supported the call for an inquiry into the conduct of Peter Maley SM.  Mr Goldflam said:

In order to uphold confidence in the administration of justice, enhance respect for the institution of the judiciary and protect the reputation of judicial officers, three basic principles are said to govern the conduct of judicial officers: impartiality, judicial independence and integrity. For a judicial officer to publicly continue an association with a political party is inconsistent with the principle of both impartiality and judicial independence. Judicial independence is constitutionally fundamental, but also peculiarly fragile.

Throughout this imbroglio, no-one has suggested that Mr Maley has not been true to his oath of office. However, from time to time judicial officers are required to rule on issues which go the heart of political affairs, which is why the wall separating judicial office from political involvement must be rigorously maintained: if judges or magistrates remain publicly associated or involved with a political party, there is a real risk that they will not be seen to exercise their judicial functions “without fear or favour”.

Exacting standards of fitness and propriety to practice law in the Northern Territory are required by the Legal Profession Act 2006 (NT) as construed and applied by the Supreme Court.  It is trite to observe that the standards expected of judicial officers are even more stringent. Regrettably, Mr Maley, whether in a moment of injudicious mischievousness or unguarded candour, has publicly reasserted his ties to a political party.  “100% Darwin” was, I thought, terrific theatre, but not so good for maintaining confidence in the administration of justice.

Read the complete article here.